Depression

Have You Forgiven Yourself?

I remember the first time I forgave myself. It was about four years ago.

I had sinned greatly. Repented deeply. Did everything God called me to here. But I couldn't escape the torment. The weight of the sin was crushing me. I didn't know if I would survive. I didn't understand why.

I went to a dear Christian girlfriend to confess. She listened carefully, prayerfully, and said, "You haven't forgiven yourself."

Who Needs Recovery?

Recovery involves the entire person: spiritual, physical, emotional and mental. You can recover from abuse, addiction, eating disorders, anxiety, shame, guilt, anger, alcoholism, codependency, suffering, grief, depression and more!

You probably need to consider seeking help if:

  • The last thing in the world you want to do is talk about your possible areas of "stuckness".
  • Your life is getting to be a repeat of one disaster after another.
  • You are finding you feel less and less in control over problems you once thought were under control.
  • You have noticed an increase in the frequency of the behaviors that you believe are a problem (lying, stealing, drinking, eating, gambling, etc.)
  • You have family members that have begun to show concern about problem areas in your life.
  • Asking for Support: Getting the Help You Need - Part 2

    by Dale & Juanita Ryan | see: Part 1

    We resist getting help

    In spite of the abundance of God's love and grace and the many ways in which love and grace are available to us, we do not easily reach out for the help we need. Even when we have acknowledged our need for help, we may find ourselves hesitating, finding excuses, resisting. Resistance to getting help is often the result of a mixture of fear and despair and shame.

    Fear

    It can be frightening to get help. In the process we feel vulnerable and exposed. Jim's Dad had made cutting remarks about him all his life. Jim was so accustomed to hearing that he was lazy and stupid and irresponsible that every time he shared in his support group, he expected to hear these same hurtful comments in response. Even though people didn't respond this way, Jim imagined that everyone must be privately thinking these things about him. As a result, he would sometimes begin to share only to freeze with fear and find himself unable to talk.

    Asking for Support: Getting the Help You Need - Part 1

    by Dale & Juanita Ryan
    See: Part 2 | Part 3

    The God of the Bible is a God who saves and heals. The Bible is clear about this: He will deliver the needy who cry out, he will rescue them from oppression and violence. Psalm 72: 12,14) When we see our need, acknowledge our inability to save ourselves, and cry out, God delivers us. God rescues us from oppression and violence. Whether it is the oppression and violence of our compulsions and addictions or the oppression and violence of abuse and neglect, God delivers us and heals us. God is powerful enough and loving enough to deliver us from all of the oppression and violence we face.

    This is the good news proclaimed in Scripture. And it is the basis for our hope on the recovery journey. We cannot save ourselves. Or heal ourselves. But God can. And God will.

    Sound simple? It turns out to be anything but simple. There are several reasons for this. First, we find it hard to believe that God is

    How can I overcome health-related discouragement?

    How can I overcome health-related discouragement?

    A physical disability is another avenue through which Satan can attack your mind. He can whisper thoughts of anger, confusion, disappointment, and worthlessness in your ear until you begin to claim those feelings as your own. But, the Lord has a different plan in mind for you. His plans is to work ALL things, in your life, together for His good purposes (Rom. 8:28).

    Getting My Eyes Off of Myself

    A cheerful heart is a good medicine,
    but a downcast spirit dries up the bones.
    Proverbs 17:22 NRSV

    We visited a church with our kids on Sunday. The pastor, in trying to make a point about honesty, addressed the dynamic that occurs when friends meet together: "How are you?" "I'm fine." He concluded that often the "I'm fine" is actually a lie because we aren't fine.

    But are we?

    As Christians should we have any opportunity for griping or complaining, moaning or groaning? Or are we actually stating a truth when we say "I'm fine," a truth that perhaps we really don't embrace but which is a truth nonetheless? Paul wrote:

    When Prayers Seem Unanswered

    This was written by an unknown Confederate soldier

    I asked God for strength that I might achieve.
    I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.

    I asked for help, that I might do greater things.
    I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.

    I asked for riches, that I might be happy.
    I was given poverty, that I might be wise.

    I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men.
    I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.

    I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life.
    I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.

    I got nothing that I asked for but everything I hoped for.
    Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.

    Helping Addicts Who Are Mentally Ill

    How can we help the addict who is also mentally ill?

    A. Understanding "Dual Diagnosis" -- Up to one-third of today's homeless adults are mentally ill. The trend toward "deinstitutionalization" of the mentally ill has meant that our city streets are now being flooded with people who at one time would have been hospitalized for their problems. As many as half of them are also addicted to alcohol and/or drugs. Many are "self-medicating" -- using addictive substances to cope with their mental problems. Social service professionals usually do not like working with these "dually diagnosed" people because they can be so demanding and time-consuming. They can be too destructive and troubled for the typical addiction recovery program. And, mental health workers shy away from them because they often do not stay sober long enough for treatments to be effective. So, they end up at the rescue mission.

    The Emotional Dimension of Recovery, Part 2

    Part 1

    How do feelings affect the addict in the early stages of recovery?

    This second installment on the role of emotion the recovery process will focus on the first 30-90 days of sobriety. The truth is, most addicts return to drugs and drinking when sobriety becomes too stressful for them. Therefore, teach them to deal with their feelings in a healthy manner greatly improves their chances of achieving long-term sobriety.

    A. The physiological impact on emotions.

      The first few days without drugs and alcohol are characterized by disjointed thinking and emotional upheaval. Newly sober people tend to be very anxious and uptight. This is due, in a large part , to the fact that alcohol and drug use have caused their bodies to be depleted of many important neurochemicals, like endorphines, that contribute to a normal state of well-being. Crack and cocaine users especially, experience anxiety, abnormal fears and difficulty sleeping. They can be short tempered and they have short attention spans.

    The Emotional Dimension of Recovery, Part 1

    Part Two

    A Christian friend once told me, "Well, why even talk about feelings, because you can't trust them anyway. The Bible says, Have faith and don't trust your feelings." Well, that's not really a healthy attitude at all, because feelings are real. Denial is all of these repressed and stuffed emotions, and part of sobriety and getting better means that all of a sudden all of the pain that has been pushed down. And anger, and everything else that has been there, is going to start rising to the surface, and these people will start feeling depression and loneliness and fear. And we need to be prepared to hear those things and to respond to them in a supportive, kind way. It doesn't mean that -- and some of those feelings are not accurate at all, but still need to be respected and accepted. It has to be there.

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